NY Public Library shares pre-Internet reference questions

If you have a question about any little thing that crosses your mind, there's a good change you pull out your phone and consult Google, being dished up a bunch of answers in no time at all. Of course, that convenience has only been around for a brief out our inquisitive history, and before such options existed people had to resort to slower, more limited resources. The New York Public Library was one such source as shown by a bunch of reference cards from the 1940s through 1980s.

The New York Public Library has surfaced a box full of reference questions typed on cards, each of them dated and some containing names. You can see one example below, and a couple more in the gallery farther down.

The NYPL plans to publish photos of the cards on its Instagram account every Monday, but has shared some with the folks at Gothamist ahead of time. Among the reference questions are inquires like I just saw a mouse in the kitchen. Is DDT OK to use? asked in 1946.

It's a fun look at the types of questions that were asked, with many of them being the type of oddities you might search online in a moment of curiosity — What is the life span of an eyebrow hair?, for example. You can see some other photos by the NYPL's Instagram, where more will be arriving in the near future.

SOURCE: Gothamist